The 45 Best Movies Of All Time (According To IMDb)

admin2021January 7, 2023

What are the best movies of all time? Ranking the best movies ever made is a pretty impossible task. However, the closest thing to a definitive ranking is a list based on audience ratings. In that sense, IMDb’s list of the top-rated films of all time might be among the best of its kind.

IMDb remains one of the most popular movie information sites on the internet. Their top-rated movies list is compiled of films that have been rated by millions of viewers. While the list is always changing, the top films have remained quite unchanged for a number of years now.

Updated on January 7th, 2023 by Colin McCormick: While it is fun to stay current with all the new movies being released, sometimes it is just easier to return to those ever-popular classic movies everyone seems to love. While all movie-goers have different opinions on what makes up the top 10 movies of all time, there is something for everyone among IMDb’s top-rated movies, from the best Hollywood movies to international hits and from movies of the 21st century to movies decades old.

Whether fans are revisiting an old favorite or catching up on a famous movie they have overlooked, this collection is a good place to look for the best movies of all time.


Grave Of The Fireflies (1988) – 8.5

Grave of the Fireflies Seita and Setsuko

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

Studio Ghibli has created some of the most acclaimed animated movies of all time, many of which appear on IMDb’s list. Grave of the Fireflies is one of the studio’s most powerful movies as it explores a young boy and girl struggling to survive in Japan during World War II.

RELATED: 10 Best Studio Ghibli Movies Not Directed By Miyazaki, Ranked By IMDb Score

Along with the beautiful animation that can be expected from Studio Ghibli, the movie is a heartbreaking journey that shows the kind of powerfully humanist stories that can be told in the animated format.

Seppuku (1962) – 8.5

Tsugumo Hanshiro showing his sword in Harakiri/Seppuku 1962

  • Available on Criterion Channel

The samurai movie genre of Japan serves as an influence and inspiration for many great filmmakers that followed. One of the most acclaimed of these movies is Seppuku which tells the story of an aging samurai who seeks an honorable end but ends up challenging the ruthless leaders in power.

The stunning black-and-white movie is a tense story told partially in flashback. It builds with excitement and a profound message that comes together in a beautiful way.

Casablanca (1942) – 8.5

Rick and Ilsa on the runway in Casablanca

Seen as one of the most epic movie love stories Hollywood ever created, Casablanca still makes an impact all these years later. Set in the titular Moroccan town at the outbreak of World War II, the movie centers on an American bar owner who unexpectedly meets his ex-lover, who is on the run from the Nazis with her fiancé.

The movie features some of the most quotable lines of dialogue in cinema history. While the love story is unforgettable, the movie is also a rousing story of standing up against bullies which must have made for a thrilling thing to watch at the time of its release.

Whiplash (2014) – 8.5

As Damien Chazelle returns with his epic Babylon, Whiplash remains a stunning breakout movie for the young filmmaker. Miles Teller stars as an aspiring jazz drummer who finds himself pushed to dangerous levels by his aggressive and abusive conductor (J.K. Simmons).

Despite being about a jazz band, Whiplash is a pulse-pounding movie that will leave audiences with a feeling of anxiety throughout. Simmons is brilliant in his Oscar-winning role and it all builds to a stunning final scene that is still debated about.

The Prestige (2006) – 8.5


  • Available to rent on Apple TV

Like Whiplash, The Prestige is a movie about the obsession for perfection. Set in the 1800s, it stars Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as two magicians and former colleagues who have a falling out. Over the years, their rivalry turns deadly as they each go to great lengths to be the best.

Christopher Nolan’s mystery thriller is the kind of movie that reveals more with each viewing. It makes for a compelling and mind-bending ride that features more than a few jaw-dropping twists.

The Usual Suspects (1995) – 8.5

A police line-up in The Usual Suspects

  • Available on fuboTV, Showtime, and DIRECTV

Though the controversies of several people involved with The Usual Suspects might make it an uncomfortable movie to revisit, it remains a gripping and clever mystery. It follows a group of career criminals who pull off a job together only to be targeted by a mysterious and powerful crime lord.

RELATED: 10 Great Movies That Play Out Like A Puzzle, According To Reddit

Though the twist of the movie is part of pop culture, it is still entertaining even knowing the reveal. Beyond that, the ensemble is terrific with colorful characters and a tense atmosphere throughout.

The Departed (2006) – 8.5

Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon on a rooftop in The Departed

  • Available on HBO Max, TNT, True TV, TBS, and DIRECTV

Martin Scorsese finally won his first directing Oscar for the crime epic The Departed. The movie follows a cop working undercover for the mob who is trying to learn the identity of a mole within the Boston Police Department.

Even compared to his other gangster movies, The Departed is one of Scorsese’s most violent movies with none of the star-studded cast safe from a bloody end. It also has a dark sense of humor and some truly unexpected moments that make it a blast to watch, even on repeat viewings.

American History X (1998) – 8.5

Edward Norton in American History X

Some of the best movies of all time focus on deeply troubled and complex characters such as in American History X. Derek is a former neo-Nazi who is released from prison and seeks to turn his younger brother from a similar path of hate and destruction.

The movie is hard to watch, especially in the flashback scenes that focus on Derek’s life of violent racism and intolerance. Yet it packs a powerful message with a stunning performance from Edward Norton in the lead role.

Gladiator (2000) – 8.5

An image of Russell Crowe in Gladiator

  • Available on Paramount+, Netflix, and Netflix Basic

Though the so-called sword-and-sandal movies seemed long out of fashion at the time, Gladiator brought new life into the genre with a rousing adventure. Russell Crowe stars as Maximus, a Roman general who is betrayed and forced to fight for his life as a gladiator.

With Ridley Scott at the helm, it is not surprising the movie delivered some amazing action sequences, from the opening battle to the fights within the Colosseum. Crowe helps to elevate the story in his Oscar-winning role while Joaquin Phoenix is just as effective as the traitorous Emperor Commodus.

The Lion King (1994) – 8.5

A still from The Lion King (1994)

Disney animated movies from the 1990s are seen by many as the golden age for the studio and The Lion King is often regarded as the crowning jewel. It tells the story of lion cub Simba who experiences tragedy and redemption in his journey to take his father’s place as king.

The movie features all the things fans have comes to expect from a great Disney movie, from the memorable songs to the lovable characters to the family-friendly adventure. However, it is also deeper than most Disney animal movies with a thrilling and heartbreaking story.

Leon: The Professional (1994) – 8.5

Jean Reno and Natalie Portman holding a gun in Leon The Professional

  • Available on Netflix, Pluto TV, and DIRECTV

The crime movie Leon: The Professional tells an action-packed and thrilling story with a surprising amount of heart. Jean Reno stars as the titular assassin, a man with a code who lives a solitary life. However, when a young girl comes looking for help, he takes her on a mission of revenge.

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Along with Reno’s soft-spoken hero, Natalie Portman gives a terrific performance as the young girl while Gary Oldman turns in a wild villain performance. It is a thrilling, surprising, and stylish adventure.

Parasite (2019) – 8.5

The cast of Parasite

  • Available on Hulu and Kanopy

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is such an exciting movie because fans don’t know where it is heading. It follows a struggling lower-class Korean family that cons their way into cushy jobs working for an affluent family. However, they soon discover a shocking secret within their employer’s home.

Starting out as a fun caper story, the movie dramatically switches styles halfway through and becomes a taut thriller. It is also a clever and thought-provoking comment on the class divide from a master filmmaker.

The Pianist (2002) – 8.5

Adrien Brody as Wadyslaw Szpilman in the Pianist.

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

Stories about the Jewish Holocaust can be extremely difficult to watch but have been adapted into several powerful and acclaimed movies. The Pianist is one such film as it stars Adrien Brody as a Polish musician who gradually sees his home of Warsaw taken over as he seeks to survive.

It is a harrowing and brutal story of survival with an Oscar-winning performance from Brody. He carries this amazing true story with his transformative role that is at times hard to watch but also deeply moving.

Psycho (1960) – 8.5

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho (1960)

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

Alfred Hitchcock is a master of suspense and delivered perhaps his most nail-biting thriller ever with Psycho. The movie begins as a story about a young woman on the run who stops in at a roadside motel only for the story to take some wild turns.

RELATED: 25 Best Horror Movies Of All Time

Among the many iconic aspects of the movie, Norman Bates became one of cinema’s most chilling creations. Psycho is filled with Hitchcock trademarks as well as some daring filmmaking techniques from the auteur that made it a ground-breaking movie.

Back To The Future (1985) – 8.5

Marty and Doc standing next to each other in Back to The Future

  • Available on Peacock Premium, fuboTV, USA and DIRECTV

There have been a number of time travel movies over the years, but few have used the concept as brilliantly as Back to the Future. Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly, a young man living in the 1980s who is transported back into the 1950s with the help of his scientist friend Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd.

The movie is a wild mix of comedy and science-fiction that makes for a wonderful and timeless adventure. Fox and Lloyd make for a charming duo, and it has become one of the most beloved time travel movies.

Spirited Away (2001) – 8.6

Still from Spirited Away featuring Chichiro and Haku in dragon form

Studio Ghibli is regarded as one of the greatest animation studios of all time and many consider Spirited Away to be its masterpiece. The magical adventure follows a young girl who finds herself drawn into a world filled with spirits where she has to save her family.

The animation style offers the same wondrous beauty that fans should come to expect from Studio Ghibli. It is also a thrilling, heartwarming, and strange journey to take which feels like a dream brought to life.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) – 8.6

Sarah, John, and the T-800 in Terminator 2

  • Available on HBO Max and DIRECTV

Following up the sci-fi thriller The Terminator would be no easy task, but James Cameron found a clever new approach for Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The movie follows young John Conner now being targeted by a Terminator from the future only for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 to be sent back as his protector.

Switching Schwarzenegger from the villain to the hero was a genius move and turned it into a much more fun ride than the original. With groundbreaking special effects and some unbelievable action sequences, it is one of the greatest sequels ever made.

Star Wars (1977) – 8.6

Obi-Wan Kenobi battling Darh Vader aboard the Death Star in Star Wars A New Hope

  • Available on Disney+, Sling, TNT, TBS, Tru TV and DIRECTV

Though not often seen as the best in the series, Star Wars remains the movie that kicked off what is likely the most popular movie franchise of all time. Introducing fans to a galaxy far, far away, the movie established its iconic character and started the grand adventure.

RELATED: 10 Unpopular Positive Opinions About Star Wars, According To Reddit

Even all these years later, it is easy to see how Star Wars blew audiences away at the time. It is an endlessly enjoyable space adventure that is as enthralling as it is entertaining.

Interstellar (2014) – 8.6

  • Available on fubo TV, Paramount+, FX Now and DIRECTV

Few directors have as passionate a following as Christopher Nolan. Though Interstellar was not as critically acclaimed or financially successful as some of his other movies, many Nolan fans still regard it as one of the best movies of all time.

Matthew McConaughey stars as a man who reluctantly leaves his family behind to join a space mission to find a suitable planet for humanity to live on. With stunning visuals, a complex story, and great performances, Interstellar is seen by many as a sci-fi movie that demands to be rewatched.

The Green Mile (1999) – 8.6

Paul and John look upward in The Green Mile

  • Available on HBO Max and Sling

Though not one of Stephen King’s most famous stories, The Green Mile still made for a compelling movie. Set in a death row prison in the 1930s, Tom Hanks plays a prison guard who forms an unexpected connection with a seemingly gentle new prisoner (Michael Clarke Duncan).

The drama is a surprising, moving, and heartbreaking story of the lives of these prison guards being changed by one man. It also features several outstanding performances, especially from Hanks and Duncan.

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